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Page last updated at 18:29 GMT, Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Muttiah Muralitharan joins Gloucestershire for T20

Muttiah Muralitharan
Muralitharan retired from Test cricket in July

Gloucestershire have signed Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan to play Twenty20 for the next two seasons.

The 38-year-old, who has taken a record 800 Test match wickets, will retire from international cricket after the forthcoming World Cup.

"The whole prospect of netting with him, playing with him and talking to him is very exciting," captain Alex Gidman told BBC Points West.

"He's one of only two or three in the world that can put bums on seats."

Gidman continued: "All credit to the club they've pulled it out of the bag and proves a few people wrong that thought we weren't going anywhere."

Muralitharan, who has also taken 519 wickets in 341 one-day internationals, will arrive at Nevil Road after a stint with Indian Premier League side Kochi.

Muralitharan signing proves Glos ambition - Gidman

"I am really looking forward to playing for Gloucestershire," he said.

"It is a young, exciting team and I hope I can add some experience to the mix."

Muralitharan played 133 Tests before retiring from the five-day game in July.

A World Cup winner with Sri Lanka in 1996, he was also a beaten finalist in the same tournament in 2007, and in the 2009 World Twenty20.

Director of cricket John Bracewell said: "This is an exciting opportunity to work with one of the greatest cricketers in the history of the game."

"Whenever I have watched and observed Murali he has always shown an infectious love for the game.

"This is something that I am looking forward to working with."

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